FAQs — PEN and the Business of Editing
What is the Professional Editors Network (PEN)?
PEN is a nonprofit association managed by a volunteer board of directors. Copy editors, writers, proofreaders, indexers, and other professionals who work with words comprise our membership. Our mission: PEN supports the professional growth and success of its members by offering learning opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills, by promoting member services to potential clients and employers, and by building a dynamic and supportive community of highly qualified individuals.
What type of memberships do you offer and what do they cost?
Memberships are on an annual basis. A regular membership is $55. A membership for a current or recently graduated student is $30.
Where are meetings held and when? What do they cost?
We hold meetings on the second Tuesday of the month. Start times alternate monthly between 6:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., and locations alternate between Minneapolis and St. Paul. We post meeting details to our online calendar and include them in the member newsletter. We also offer learning opportunities for members through webinars and online classes. Meetings are free; webinars and online classes usually have an additional cost.
What does a professional editor offer?
A copy editor brings judgment, expertise, solid writing skills and a strong knowledge of grammar. A professional editor may hold an advanced academic degree, have training in a specialized field or have deep experience from past work projects. Most copy editors spend years learning the nuances of grammar and syntax, and they can use English with accuracy. Picking the right person for a project requires that you match your needs with the editor’s skills.
What services does a professional editor provide?
An editor will work to ensure that your writing is accurate, concise and logical. The type of editing required depends on several factors, which include: What is the manuscript's condition? What are your goals? How complex is the work? The level of editing affects the time the project will take. Accurately defining the project's scope before it begins helps a professional editor meet your expectations and stay within budget.
In what ways does professional editing benefit a project?
Increases clarity by asking basic questions, including “Is anything missing?” “Do some things need to be restated?” “Will everyone understand it?”
Saves time and effort yet gets the job done. One the draft is finished, you may lack the time, patience or objectivity to revise it. A professional editor can approach your manuscript with fresh eyes, an open mind, and the will to help you finish the task.
Saves money. Hiring an editor costs money initially. But you'll save money over the long term because a document that has been expertly edited is easier to read and understand. The editor’s expertise reduces reading time.
Presents you accurately. Careful editing ensures that the picture formed in the minds of readers is one you intend, not one that emerges accidentally.
What are the levels of editing?
Proofreading. This is usually the final step before a document is published. Most proofreading is done “cold” or “blind,” which means the copy is not compared to a previous version. The proofreader’s job is to correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and typos.
Copyediting. An editor may review writing style, delete unnecessary words and substitute new words for any that are misused or awkward. The editor will ensure that your words convey correct meanings, check consistency, develop a style sheet and check for clarity and sense. Also, the editor may rearrange copy to create a more logical flow of ideas.
Substantive editing. This level is about improving a manuscript. The editor can help identify areas where deeper revisions can make a difference. Among other things, the editor may suggest structural changes such as rearranging paragraphs, entire sections or even chapters. The editor may create an outline, propose additions, deletions or suggest readability aids. The editor may identify areas where deeper revisions can make a huge difference. The editor may also recommend the author rewrite portions of the manuscript.